Donna grew up in Chester County, PA and earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Denver. After graduation, she returned to Chester County and took her first full time job in social services, working with dually diagnosed adolescent girls. According to Donna, “It was challenging, and rewarding, but the best part was that I met my wife, Gail, there.” After three years she decided it was time to do something different and left social services to work for a software company. She pursued her MBA at night while working, and has worked in the software industry ever since.
Donna and Gail and bought their beach house here almost 16 years ago and were fortunate to make Rehoboth Beach their full-time home six years ago. They share their home with their four legged kids, dogs, Peanut and Sophie, and cat, Ally. After 28 years together, the couple was married in October, 2014.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP and what events/activities have you been involved with since?
I joined the Starburst Gayla committee six years ago when the founding committee was looking for some new people. I had enjoyed attending the Gayla and knew that so many other people appreciated the event as well. It seemed like the ideal opportunity to get involved. I was welcomed by the committee and enjoyed working with and meeting new people. Seeing people have a great time at the Gayla is really rewarding.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
Meeting new people and helping transform the convention center into a special New Year’s Gayla.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth in our 25 years, which is your favorite and why?
The Starburst Gayla, of course! I’ve also enjoyed Women’s FEST (April) for many years. My favorite event the last few years is the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk. It’s a great event where women come together to support women who are cancer survivors, those going through treatment, and it’s also an opportunity to honor those who lost the battle. The Broadwalk on the Boardwalk is an emotional and powerful event. Having lost my mother to cancer it’s especially meaningful. Many thanks to Kathy Wiz for creating such a special event!
CAMP Rehoboth is celebrating a quarter century of service to the community this year. Please tell us about a special anniversary you’ve celebrated?
We have a new anniversary to celebrate, our wedding anniversary! October 2015 will mark one year. We’ve yet to plan how we will celebrate, but it will be special.
Favorite season here at the beach?
I love the fall here…summer traffic dwindles, the weather is great, and we have such great events. The Jazz Festival has been a favorite for many years and is a world class event. Seawitch is also a great weekend. For many years we participated in the pet parade and though I haven’t been in the parade the last few years, I love it and always make sure to attend.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up?
My dad. He’s my hero. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix, grow, or figure out. The “go to” guy for neighbors who needed any kind of help, I tagged along with him everywhere and never stopped learning from him.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Take our dog for a long walk on the beach. I love walking on the beach and can often be found there on a weekend morning enjoying the start of the new day.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
San Francisco. Working in the software industry I have been fortunate to visit there many times and I love the openness of the city. As a vegetarian, I fell in love with the wholesome food scene there and my favorite restaurant is a San Francisco legend: Greens. And of course not too far away is the beautiful Napa Valley with great wine!
Night owl or early riser and why?
Early riser! I love the quiet morning time and seeing the sun rise before everyone else is up.
Best year of your life and why?
Last year was a great year. The year started with a winter get away in Puerto Rico, and by the fall we were getting married and then honeymooned in Tahiti. It was also a great year for me professionally.
Favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas. For many years I have had a tradition of making cookies to give as gifts which I love doing. I think homemade gifts are thoughtful and special. This year I stepped up my game and knitted a scarf as a gift! The real joy of the season is that we make the effort to spend time with loved ones and to connect with those we might not have been able to throughout the year.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime? Why or why not?
I never expected this much progress. I admire the younger generation who are so comfortable being who they are in the world, and so amazed at how accepting the world has become. While I’m thankful for the progress, I realize that we have so far to go in so many other ways. I long to see a world where we can all appreciate and love the difference that each of us brings to the table. That’s what I’d love to see in my lifetime.
Name an event that has shaped your life to where it is today?
During my senior year in college I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Europe. It was my first time travelling abroad and it got me hooked on travel. I love travelling to other countries, learning about other cultures, eating food from around the world and meeting people along the way.
What are you most thankful for?
Everything. I have so much to be thankful for. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate the loved ones in my life, and appreciate the beauty that Mother Nature has provided for us to enjoy, if we just take the opportunity.
Well said, Donna. On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors here at CAMP, our sincere thanks for your continued support. Both you and Gail have helped make us the strong organization we are today.